Garlic goodness and general gardening

This morning I planted the last of my garlic stock for this year. Although this was a later sowing than I had planned, I had always intended to stagger my garlic planting, having overwintered about forty plants under plastic, which I planted in early autumn. Those autumn plants are now really thriving and look very mature, while obviously the cloves I planted today havent even begun to sprout yet.

Last year we planted two bulbs worth of Solent Wight garlic, and they kept us self sufficient in garlic (we use a lot) from autumn until now. The Solent Wight stored really well and on the whole provided excellent large bulbs with plenty of flavour.

Garlic needs cold weather, without a series of cold days it will not split properly and form the proper bulbs. Hence I should really have planted my last bulb before now. But I am interested to observe the different results from the staggered plantings, whether they will all mature around the same time, or some much earlier than others – and in particular how the early and late plantings will do.

I have a number of different alliums planted now, red onions, japanese onions, shallots, and garlic. Also growing nicely are a number of cabbages, and the spinach beet which has put on considerable growth recently.

I am waiting for Easter to plant my potatoes, two early sorts, Winstons and Lady Balfour. I am not bothering with maincrop potatoes this year.

I’ve also been sorting out a nice little pumpkin patch, which is good as we have an infeasibly large amount of pumpkin seedlings on the go.

In the greenhouse I’ll be growing tomatoes and melons. Other fruit we’re expecting include: kiwi (the tree is looking quite healthy – hoorah), blue berries, we now have a few bushes of this, currants and other berries. I need to work out where best to plant my strawberries, which at the moment are all in pots. I may try them in a container rather than a bed, but if so, I shall need a couple of large containers.

Asparagus is not showing yet, but I wouldnt expect anything at this point. Rhubarb of course is coming along nicely, just need to persuade ourselves to eat the stuff, as we have about four or five healthy rhubarb plants growing in the garden.

The broad beans which I overwintered have not done well, I think I must have taken the protection away too soon – ah well, that’s a lesson learned.

The greenhouse will also be home to some cut and come again salad, and I think I’ll look for some space to get some salad outside too if possible.

The big unknown this year are my fruit trees, they did absolutely nothing last year, but then they were totally neglected. This year they have been mulched and protected from weeds, and I’m hoping that they will oblige with some fruit in return for the tlc. On the other hand, I may already have killed them off… we’ll see.

In terms of herbs I’ve got parsley of course, along with thyme and rosemary, lavender and hopefully some soapwort which is resolutley refusing to germinate at the moment. I’ll also keep some pots of basil in the greenhouse or on a window ledge. Need to check on the mint too.

The challenge this summer will be to keep things watered, if, as I have heard on the grapevine, we’re in for a hot one. I have still not managed to snag any suitable barrels for rain butts, and I refuse to pay the amount demanded in shops. Caught between a rock and a hard place really.

I’m sure this has been a fascinating post to read, sorry – feels like I’ve just done a gardening brain dump. So what’s growing well for you right now?

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